Earlier today I posted Microsoft: Free Software Violates Patents!. Todd Bishop has a lengthy article on his blog today about this topic. However the article is more about the Free Software Foundation and it’s draft of the General Public License Version 3 (GPL, the license under which many open-source programs are distributed).
Eben Moglen is the legal counsel to the Free Software Foundation and had this to say:
The recent “saber-rattling” further illustrated the importance of protecting against Microsoft’s attempts “to disrupt free software production through the inculcation of a large inventory of most-likely invalid patents.”
There also appear to be some debate, at least as far as Microsoft is concerned if they are a “distributor” for Linux since they are distributing Suse Linux (“enterprise grade” version of the Linux OS) service and support coupons. Of course Microsoft is going to openly dispute they are distributer so that they can make themselves exempt from the upcoming GPL Version 3.
In basic terms, as Moglen explained to the online audience, the new version of the license would make Microsoft subject to the GPL, because of its distribution of Novell Suse Enterprise Linux coupons. Under the language of the license, Microsoft would then be prevented from pursuing patent claims against the broader Linux community. Not just Novell’s Linux users would be protected.
News Source: Tood Bishop’s Microsoft Blog